A jaw-dropping picture of an Australian saltwater crocodile leaping from the water is apparently real, but is raising some questions about tour guide behavior on Australian rivers.

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_Concerned observers said the image of the 5.5m saltie, named Brutus, attacking a slab of meat demonstrates a worrying trend among some operators who want to give tourists a closer experience with nature. The photograph, taken by NT News staffer Katrina Bridgeford, first appeared on the front page of the paper under the headline “Yes, it’s real”. Despite the claim, there were questions around its legitimacy and whether it had been doctored electronically. But the newspaper insists the photograph is genuine. Tour operator Tony Blums, owner of the Jumping Crocodile Cruises on the Adelaide River, said the leaping crocodile stunt was staged in a way that was irresponsible and risked lives.

“What they are doing is quite dangerous,” he told ninemsn. “They are very gung-ho. The croc is far too big for the size of the boat they are approaching it with. “It is disturbing. A croc that size can fully flick itself up onto the boat from there, and that would cause some panic.”_
Brutus, believed to be an 80-year-old crocodile who lost his front leg in a shark attack, is one of the dominant males in the waters of the Adelaide River. And Mr Blums claimed it would have been safer for the guide to have used a longer pole to keep the monster creature further from the boat.

“You don’t play with big crocs. They are big, strong and dangerous,” he said. “If they get it wrong, it will go wrong terribly.”

But the company which arranged the tour, Adelaide River Cruises, defended its safety record, saying they are focused on providing a unique experience for their guests.
Foolhardy stunt or exhilarating communion with nature? Would you choose to get so close to Brutus?